Awareness seminar on cross-border programme Albania – the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
The awareness seminar organized in the region of Dibra was the third activity related to dissemination of information to the potential applicants on the cross-border programme between Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, thus closing the cycle of the seminars for this programme.
The seminar took place at the premises of the Regional Council of Dibra on August 24th 2007.
Organization of the info day was made in full cooperation with the MEI and the Regional authorities of Dibra.
The latter offered also the premises of the City Council Hall for the organization of the event. The 32 participants represented different public organizations, regional and local institutions and the civil society organizations active in this region.
The main items of the agenda included:
- Presentation of the main strategic goal of the cross-border programme between Albania – the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, its specific objectives, priorities and measures
- Presentation on the support that has been provided to the national authorities in both countries for the preparation of the cross-border programme and the upcoming support that the CBIB project is going to provide to the local beneficiaries with regard to enhancing local capacities for preparation and implementation of successful cross–border projects.
The overall objective of the seminar was to inform the potential applicants about the cross-border programme between Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and its expected impact, and its priorities and measures, well in advance so that they will be prepared when the Calls for Proposals are launched. In addition, the activity was intended to inform the potential applicants on the next steps to be taken in the near future to make the programme fully operation and establish the related institutional framework.
The expected results from this activity were the following:
(i) increased awareness of the participants on the cross-border programmes in general and the cross-border programme between Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia;
(ii) increase the number of beneficiaries that receive information on the CBIB project in general;
(iii) potential applicants informed on the cross-border programmes in general and IPA CBC.
The seminar was organised in only one session.
Two meetings with the regional authorities took place after the seminar in order to discuss for the future cooperation and seek support and involvement of the staff pf the Regional Council in the organisation of the training for the potential applicants in this region. The first meeting was held with the Head of Regional Council, Mr. Naim Gazidede, and the second meeting with the staff of Training Unit in the Regional Council. CBIB Triana team explained the training objectives and the main outlines for training. Possibilities were explored for strengthening the capacities of the unit for delivering the training courses on the preparation of the CBC projects in the future and assisting the beneficiaries, when needed.
Conclusions and Lessons Learned:
- Thanks to its geographical position, with quite a large territory situated in the bordering area, the cross-border types of activities/projects are developed in this region to an extent. This is also due to the fact that the Albanian communities on the other side of the border are quite large (Dibra, Tetova, Struga) which means there is no language barrier and that has made the communication easy. The Region of Dibra has been a part of certain programmes related to integrated border management type of activities, but there is no past experience related to the implementation of the EU cross-border programmes.
- Participants appreciated organization of the awareness seminar. Because of the lack of experience in the past, they made several questions about issues of the preparatory work for planning activities and establishing contacts with different organizations on the other side of the border.
- The “partner search” database developed by the CBIB teams in Tirana and Skopje made available to all participants was highly appreciated, and the establishment of an antenna in the city of Dibra was considered a great opportunity for them as it will facilitate their efforts for getting information and establishing contacts.
- The participants expressed a request to organize an awareness seminar jointly with the eligible region in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, making it more of a “partnership day”. This was considered to be a good opportunity not only to provide information the potenial applicants, but also bring together in one place different partners and provide them the opportunity to establish contact and start the preparatory work together.
- Participation of the Regional Authorities in the drafting process of the programme and the organization of the awareness seminar was perceived as a sound contribution to co-ownership on the process together with the MEI.
- Participants showed a particular interest in the coming training programme presented by the CBIB representatives. With the support of the Dutch government, a Training Unit was established in the Regional Council of Dibra for strengthening the programming and implementing capacities of the local government units in this region, in order to enable them to attract funds from different aid programmes. The existence of the Training Unit was considered to be a good additional recourse and support for the CBIB project for organization of the training for the final beneficiaries in this region.
- Potential may be explored how to strengthen the capacities of the regional authorities for delivering the training programmes and assistance to final beneficiaries in this region during the Call for Proposals in the future.